REVIEW: Field of Screams Haunted Stadium 2013

One of the most popular videos on Theme Park Adventure’s YouTube Channel is from Field of Screams The Haunted Stadium in Lake Elsinore, California. Considering that we had not paid that haunt a visit since 2010, we felt a return was due this season to see what’s changed and to get new video for TPAers to check out!

IMG_2559Field of Screams The Haunted Stadium is now under the ownership of Jeromy and Zach Ball, better known as The Bloodshed Brothers throughout the haunt community in Southern California and beyond. These two young men (one of the more interesting aspects of this haunt to me is that these guys are relatively young compared to other big players in the industry) run the large-scale haunt that is housed within Diamond Stadium, home to the Lake Elsinore Storm. Field of Screams The Haunted Stadium is easy to find, conveniently located immediately off the 15 Freeway between Corona and Temecula in the Inland Empire.

The Bloodshed Brothers have expanded the operation since we last visited, adding more mazes for a total of 5, as well as a really solid team of roaming monsters. This year, The Haunted Stadium’s mazes are Horsemen Hotel, Uncle Chuckle’s Fun House, Maniac Manor, Tomb of Terror, and Hillbilly Hell. It’s a great range of themes to play with, and each definitely has its own personality and appeal.

IMG_2566Tomb of Terror is a blackout maze, so TPA didn’t shoot any of its interior for our review, although we did enjoy finding our way through the darkness – with a few surprises along the way! This is definitely one of the more interesting of The Haunted Stadium’s attractions, and it is very effective; lots of terrified guests venturing into the darkness as we were present! To the crew of this maze, sorry we couldn’t get pictures or video of you guys!

Of all the mazes at Field of Screams The Haunted Stadium, our favorite hands-down was Hillbilly Hell. Obviously, the theme of this maze is backwoods inbreds with a penchant for human flesh. The construction of the maze is unique in that if you stand at one end, you can literally see all the way through, if you try, to the other side. However, with props and monsters galore throughout this haphazard wooden labyrinth, it really works very well and is clever, spooky awkward fun! Since there are very few jump-out-and-scare spots for talent to hide at in this maze, the team instead relies heavily on spoken interaction with guests (in a strong Southern drawl, naturally). And the cast pulls it off really well.

IMG_2571I want to take a moment to acknowledge something that will likely be the personal highlight of the Halloween season this year for me. Theme Park Adventure has been around for a long time; this is our 19th year. Naturally, people recognize us wherever we go and it happens all the time in the damnedest places. At Halloween, it’s very common for monsters to say, “TPA!” as we walk through a haunt, and we love that support and enthusiasm. That’s why it didn’t throw me too much at first when the hick girl outside of Hillbilly Hell addressed me by first and last name as we arrived. However – once I started talking to her off to the side in prep for our video shoot, my mind was blown. Years ago, when we first visited The Haunted Stadium, there were two really young girls in the event’s Return to Wonderland maze that made a huge impression on us because they were so professional and sure of themselves. We typically don’t like children as talent at haunts; however, these little ladies were good. Well, one of them hit a major growth spurt; lo and behold, the hillbilly that was doing an amazing job greeting guests and regulating the queue for this maze… yep. One of those little girls that I praised several years ago! I was stunned, sure that most of the talent at The Haunted Stadium had likely moved on as they got older. Yet, here she was… a total WOW moment for me, and a striking reminder of how personally people take what we write, and what type of impression that makes on them. I’m proud to say that this natural born haunter has become part of the Hillbilly Hell team and is absolutely destined to be a freaking legendary force if she remains involved with haunted attractions. Happy Halloween, Cierra!

IMG_2667While on the subject of talent, I’m just going to say it: talented young folks are Field of Screams The Haunted Stadium’s bread and butter. The mazes are fine; not over the top or extravagant by any means. However, the talent has some real power that goes a long way. The business model is the same as it was years ago when we first visited The Haunted Stadium – most of the volunteers are school kids that receive hours/credit in turn for participating in the event. And many of them are involved in the arts at their school. This is evident when big personalities suddenly erupt from obviously young haunters. It doesn’t always come together, and we had our share of awkward encounters at the other end of our cameras – but for the most part, the level of enthusiasm and honest all-out scaring done by the entire crew is really impressive. Talent is this haunt’s strength. They don’t have huge financial backers or support, and admittedly, a lot of the components that The Blood Brothers bring together for the event are fairly lo-fi in appearance and complexity (although, there are some really nice effects and moments scattered throughout the mazes, including a great vortex tunnel and really nice elevator gag that impressed us). What lacks in huge, elaborate sets and props is completely made up for by the creative enthusiasm of the talent and crew running Field of Screams The Haunted Stadium. And we respect that so much!

IMG_2677The Haunted Stadium is a fun family-friendly scare event that isn’t too heavy on gore or intense situations; we’d recommend this haunt for a wide range of enthusiasts. It’s a just right combination of scary fun, spooky surprises and haunting effects for young and old Halloween fans alike.

The video that we have from this year’s Haunted Stadium event is a clip compilation, unlike the complete flow-throughs like we presented three years ago.  This will give you a taste of what to expect and look forward to when you make your own trek to Lake Elsinore to experience Field of Screams The Haunted Stadium for yourself. Enjoy the footage, enjoy the photo gallery, and tell The Bloodshed Brothers and company that TPA sent ya! They’re a great bunch of haunters and we appreciate them having us out this season!

What did YOU think of Field of Screams The Haunted Stadium? Questions, comments? Sound off below!

– Rick West

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